Archive for April, 2014

Monoscream – Redemption

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th April 2014 by Pieni

Monoscream
“Redemption”
Swedish death metal
Released on 21st September 2011
Via Dead Tree Records

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Monoscream are currently in the studio recording their second album, but until that’s done and out, let me tell you about the previous (and debut) “Redemption”.

When one says “Swedish death metal” he means a lot more than a death metal band that comes from Sweden. The expression implies a degree of sophisticated melody that adds strength, not softness, to its aggression. And that’s what we have here – 10 tracks (plus an intro) of sheer Swedish death metal.

“Oppressors Hand” was their choice for filming a video and “Nation Wide” to take part in Sicksound’s compilation “A New Era” (see here), so saying these two tracks are some of the album’s highlights is somewhat obvious. But they’re far from being the only ones priming for their grinding riffs and sharp beats. “Follow Your Shadow”, “Jealousy” or “17 Years” are just as worthy of praise, for their classy shredding. There’s also “Parasite”, with a quite belligerent rhythm making it the speediest track. But my personal favorite is “Voice Of Resistance”, for its lively overall structure and beautiful guitar solo. And speaking of “voice”, extra kudos for Andreas Deverstam, who manages to growl the lyrics in a perceptible way.

One always aims to improve, to evolve, but if the upcoming album stays on the same quality level, I won’t complain. (4,5 / 5)

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Savn – Self-Titled

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 26th April 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Savn
Self-TItled
Released 28th April 2014
Gothic Folk Metal
Released via CDR Records Norway

Since 2000, Norwegian gothic metal legends Sins Of Thy Beloved have remained suspiciously inactive. Following years of rumours of a possible reunion, Stig Johansen and Anders Thue came back onto the scene with a new band – Savn (Norwegian for “deprivation”) which features Midnattsol vocalist Carmen Elise Espenæs. Savn’s self-titled release is the effort of these three musicians.

The album begins with the folkishly ethereal song Musical Silence, gently laying down a path for Carmen’s hypnotic vocals to follow along. The folkier instrumentation does a grand job at cementing the track together, enforcing the strength of the guitars. Hang On screams out with a heavier and darker sound whilst still incorporating well refined folk elements. Carmen’s vocals also take on a darker aspect throughout this song, building up an atmosphere alongside the instrumentation. Anders’ use of keyboard medleys adds a lot to both the sound and the atmosphere.

The guitars in the song The Demons In Me are painted with several Cimmerian shades, which are added to which deeper touches of despair by guest vocals from Michelle Darkness (End Of Green). The folk elements help paint the musical funeral dirge where as Longing For Love has a sliver of hope running throughout the dusky music. Carmen’s vocals are as angelic as ever but leave trace hints of sorrow in their wake, adding emphasis to the emotion that flows throughout the song. The keyboards dance almost Plutonianly throughout I Am Free which features Leaves’ Eyes frontwoman and Carmen’s sister Liv Kristine as a guest vocalist, showing the power of the two vocalists as well as making this the first time that Liv has appeared on one of Carmen’s songs. The folk elements take a backseat for some of the track, allowing the keyboards and guitars to weave a tapestry of solemn sounds.

Sorrowful bursts into action with a truly tragic sound, leaving no room for any hint of joyful elements. Even Carmen’s usually angelic voice sounds more twilit in their performance, walking hand in hand with the gothic styled stringed instrumentation. All I Want travels down a similar road to Sorrowful, taking on a deeper sound and displaying more of Carmen’s majestic vocal style. Nearing the end of the album is Now Or Neverwhich is slower paced than a lot of the songs on the album and twice as doomtastic, making an awe-inspiring use of Stig’s growls and Anders’s eerie style of keyboards. Lengselens Hånd is the final track of the album and it is perhaps the most soulful and emotive piece of music on the whole album, taking a soothing approach for most of its duration and allowing Carmen’s vocals to provide a gentle touch to the album – A gentle touch that continues even during in the heavier part of the song where the keyboards carefully step out each note in a celestial manner.

Leaving the sounds of their other projects at the door, Carmen, Stig and Anders have created an album that not only displays their talent as a band but their talents as individual musicians and songwriters as well. Savn is exactly the breath of fresh air that the metal scene needs.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Savn online:

http://savn-official.com
http://facebook.com/SavnOfficial

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Sonic Syndicate reveal details on upcoming album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 25th April 2014 by Pieni

As previously reported (read here) Anglo-Swedish modern metal act SONIC SYNDICATE have been in the studio recording their 5th full-length album. Today the boys and girl unveiled its coverart and let us know that this new 11-track piece (14 in the limited edition) will be named after the band itself and will hit the stores on July 7th, once again via Nuclear Blast.

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Quoting Robin Sjunnesson (guitarist/main songwriter/founding member): » We decided to go with this one as a “Self-Titled” release. Mainly because as an album we have put everything we’ve got into it. All of our experience as musicians, the evolution of the music, the sound from all eras of the band, and also the road we have taken as people. This is us, this is Sonic Syndicate in all its beauty and destruction. It shows our strength, our love for melody, our scars, our energy. The cover art is a definite representation of that. In the background, a battle-torn city laid to waste, four figures emerging together with only each other to depend on in an environment so harsh, only those with a tough heart, body and soul can survive. The tone throughout this album is definitely darker, and as my Swedish family would say “With a red-line running in the middle” so we put this into the colour-scheme. We could not be more proud of this album, and we thank our fans for the support, it’s because of them that we’re here. This album is for you. «

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The tracklist is as follows:
01. Day Of The Dead
02. Black Hole Halo
03. Long Road Home
04. My Revenge
05. Before You Finally Break (feat. Speed/SOILWORK)
06. Catching Fire
07. Unbreakable
08. It Takes Me
09. See What I See
10. So Addicted
11. The Flame That Changed The World


LIMITED EDITION BONUS TRACKS:
12. Diabolical Work Of Art
13. What We Shared
14. Another Soldier Down



Regarding Björn “Speed” Strid participation, singer Nathan J. Biggs said: » I’m honored to call Speed a friend. I’ve been a big SOILWORK fan for years. Those guys were a massive hand in crafting that trademark Swedish sound so it made perfect sense to ask Speed when we knew we wanted to do a song with guest vocals. Performance wise I think we have similar styles and execution, but at the same time we both have our own thing going on so the voices compliment each other to great effect. My idea was also to have a real battle between our vocals. I hate it when you have these “featuring” songs and the guest just pops up for a chorus and then does backing vocals for a while in the verse or something. This is a real fight between us for the mic and I’m sure people are gonna appreciate that. «

Don’t forget to follow the band on their official social networks for more updates – they have recently posted a snippet of the photosession for this album, the soundtrack being a preview of one of the new (and really heavy) song.

Official Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Mørktår release details about new album Dark Years

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th April 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

London’s prophets of misanthropy Mørktår have recently revealed the details of their new album Dark Years since is set for release in winter, later this year. The themes surrounding the new album, like previous releases, will deal with misanthropy. The album, which will be the band’s debut album, features new lyricist and vocalist Repktkor and promises to deliver more than Mørktår’s demo releases. The tracklisting is as follows:

I. Happiness No Life
II. No Efficiency In Your Blood
III. Worse Than The Plague
IV. Loneliness Is All You Have
V. Painful Dark Death
VI. Dark Years
VII. Lifekut Misery

Mørktår will also be appearing at this year’s Valkyrian Festival in Bridlington. Weekend and day tickets are available from this location.

Mørktår online:

http://facebook.com/morktarofficial

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Interview with Martijn Westerholt [Delain]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25th April 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Valkyrian Music editor Nico Davidson catches up with Delain’s founding member and main man Martijn Westerholt in Manchester before the band’s first UK show of 2014 with Within Temptation.

Special thanks to April Mccaffrey for filming the interview.

Delain online:

http://delain.nl
http://facebook.com/delainmusic

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Beyond Grace – Monstrous [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 25th April 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Beyond Grace
Monstrous
Released February 2014
Extreme melodic death metal
Self-released

It’s with no mean frequency that the phrase ‘If it ain’t got riff, it ain’t worth a fuck!’ tumbles from these lips. Nothing turns me off from an extreme band more than constant noise or technicality for the sake of it. It just doesn’t spell out H-E-A-V-Y to me. Some of my favourite metal albums are those that punch a middle finger into the face of convention, blast beats swirling effortlessly into percussive grooves. Think Carcass Heartwork or Bloodbath‘s opus The Fathomless Mastery (especially At The Behest Of The Dead! Damn! That chorus!).

It’s such a shame that the UK bands taking this particular musical bull by the horns are vastly outnumbered by those who pump out the same old trend-oriented metal pudding as everyone else, but those who do tend to hit me in a special place.

Step up, Nottingham’s Beyond Grace – a band who seem to have set out to make writing an actual tune part of their purpose for existence. From the first moments of opening track The Chronophage – which I believe roughly means ‘the time-eater’ – it’s obvious that this lot don’t care much for fitting in to the preconceived notions of either the current UK death scene or mainstream extreme metal (Yup, I said it. It’s a thing now!), while brushing shoulders with both. The song is an easy choice for an opener, kicking off with a bombastic announcement of power-chords, shamelessly declaring “We are here! Listen!”, but it’s the intelligent introduction of complementary lead-work that really makes it stand out.

And they’re no one-trick-pony, either. Progressing to the accompanying tracks, Inhumanity and Invasive Exotics, they churn out riff after riff of addictive, individual brutality. While more consistently fast-paced, these two numbers guide the listener through a bit of an experiment in combining elements of rhythmic divergence and harmonious exaltation. The entire EP is dripping with all the best bits of At The Gates, Lamb Of God and The Haunted, without really sounding like any of them. I think I even sense the echoes of 80s thrash in there, but that could just be decades-old tinnitus.

It’s also worthy of note that frontman Andy Walmsley is one of the few who can really nail down clarity of lyrical content while dealing in full-on death metal vocals. It’s not something that everybody will care about, and to be fair, I do love a whole load of bands who haven’t achieved this, but I find it adds a little something being able tap into the story aspect of a heavy song on first listen.

I’d really like to hear full-length continuation of this style, but maybe with a more aggressive, rawer production, as it feels something is missing in terms of bite, and the whole thing is over far too soon for my liking. That said, this is a gripping, memorable release, proving, to these ears at least, that you don’t have to ditch any sense of melody and/or hooks to keep up with the pace of modern heaviness. More of this kind of thing!

4/5

Paul Macmillan

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Epica announce one-off UK show as part of European tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Dutch symphonic metallers Epica are set to embark on the first leg of their European tour in Winter this year, in support of their upcoming album, The Quantum Enigma which is set for release on 5th May 2014. The new album will be released via Nuclear Blast. Frontwoman Simone Simons comments:

After a little break from touring, we can’t wait to be on stage again and perform the new songs along with the old. Europe here we come!

As part of the European tour, the band will be hitting The Forum in London for a one-off UK show this year! Tickets are available from this location. Dagoba are the support act on the European tour.

Epica online:

http://epica.nl
http://facebook.com/EPICA
http://twitter.com/EPICA
http://YouTube.com/EPICA
http://instagram.com/EPICAOFFICIAL

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